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The Nazi Hunters / I See the Promised Land

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | March - (Comments Off on The Nazi Hunters / I See the Promised Land)

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The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc., 2013.

I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Arthur Flowers. Illustrated by Manu Chitrakar. Designed by Guglielmo Rossi. Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2013.

 

Having read one or both of these books…

1. How do the visual elements of the text impact your understanding of the story? What are some of the other choices the authors and illustrators made to emotionally engage readers? How do these elements work together?

2. Cite evidence of people in these books taking action for a cause greater rather than for themselves. What compels them to do this? How do those actions impact us today?

3. What did you learn about the time periods and people involved in these stories that you didn’t know before reading these books?

 

March: Book One / Imprisoned

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on March: Book One / Imprisoned)

march book oneMSMarch: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, 2013.

1. Education was important to John Lewis from the time he was a child. How is this introduced and then explored throughout the book? What does John Lewis learn from raising chickens and reading scripture? How do these learning experiences influence his life?

2. How does the use of the graphic novel style contribute to John Lewis’s story? Does it detract in any ways?

3. Why was nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience effective with Lewis’ group’s protests? What other problems could be solved with this type of action? Are there any problems that could not (or should not) be approached this way?

 

imprisonedImprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II by Martin W. Sandler. Walker, 2013.

1. The author believes that the response of the government and many individual Americans to people of Japanese descent in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was unjust and hysterical. How does he convey this perspective and support it in the narrative?

2. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Battalion were two units composed entirely of Japanese Americans. What were some of the reasons these men gave for fighting for a country that had treated them so poorly?

3. Why do you think it took so long for the U.S. government to apologize for the treatment of Americans of Japanese ancestry?

Books for Middle School Age

No Monkeys, No Chocolate

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on No Monkeys, No Chocolate)

no monkeys no chocolateGRK-2

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young. Illustrated by Nicole Wong.  Charlesbridge, 2013.

1. Why can’t chocolate grow without monkeys and other creatures? Why do you think the author chose the title, No Monkeys, No Chocolate, for this book?

2. What do you think are the important things the author wants us to know about chocolate?

3. In what other ways do plants, insects and animals depend on each other?

H.O.R.S.E.: / Hoop Genius

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on H.O.R.S.E.: / Hoop Genius)

h.o.r.s.eH.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers. Egmont, 2012.

1. Did you have trouble deciding who was talking on each page of this book? What helped you to figure out who was speaking?

2. What is the setting of this book? How do you know? How do the illustrations and the text help you to identify the setting?

3. Do you think the characters are friends? What makes you say that?

 

hoop genius

Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy. Illustrated by Joe Morse. Carolrhoda, 2013.

1. Why did James Naismith invent basketball? What experiences helped James Naismith invent the sport?

2. How or why were some of the rules for basketball formed? How were the original rules different from the basketball we know today? Why do think some of the rules changed?

3. Why do you think basketball is still a popular sport?

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Which is Round? Which is Bigger? / All the World

March 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | March - (Comments Off on Which is Round? Which is Bigger? / All the World)

which is round

Which Is Round? Which Is Bigger? by Mineko Mamada. Translated from the Japanese by Yvette Ghione. U.S. edition: Kids Can Press, 2013.

1. Which animals have tails?

2. How many circles do you see? What fruits do you see?

3. What are some of the ways that the animals and fruits change to become bigger or smaller, round or not round?

 

all the worldAll the World by Liz Garton Scanlon. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, 2009.

1. Find people who are playing. Which place would you like to play?

2. Find people who are working. Which job would you like?

3. What does your family like to do outdoors?

 

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Charm & Strange

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | February - (Comments Off on The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Charm & Strange)

coldest girl in coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Little, Brown, 2013.charm & strange

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.

Having read both or one of these books…

1. Why would an author choose to use vampires and werewolves to explore changing identity?

2. How are the vampires and werewolves similar and different from supernatural characters in other stories?

3. What plot elements allow you to suspend your disbelief?

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Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Lincoln’s Grave Robbers)

lincoln's grave robbersLincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin. Scholastic Press, 2013.

1. How did the author use source documents to reconstruct the events of the plot to steal Lincoln’s body and the history of counterfeiters?

2. Why does Tyrell hesitate before breaking into the tomb?

3. What were Swegles’ strategies to gain the trust of the grave robbers and avoid detection?

Books for Middle School Age

 

Lulu and the Duck in the Park / The Pet Project

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Lulu and the Duck in the Park / The Pet Project)

luluandtheduckintheparkLulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay. Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. U.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2013.

1. Talk about how Lulu and Mellie and Mrs. Halliday each feel about animals. What in the story makes you say this?

2. What do you think about animals? Which of the characters are you most like when it comes to your feelings about animals and why?

3. What are some of the ways that Lulu and Mellie help each other? How do you help your friends?

 

pet project

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses by Lisa Wheeler. Illustrated by Zachariah Ohora. Atheneum, 2013.

1. What are the steps the narrator completes to determine which pet is best for her?

2. Choose a poem or animal. How does the narrator feel about this animal? What in the text makes you think this? Do you agree with the narrator’s observations? Why?

3. What do you think about the assignment her parent’s gave her? Do you think this is a good way to decide what type of pet is best for her? How would you (or have you) determined what type of pet is best for you?Icon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers

A Splash of Red / Kunu’s Basket

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on A Splash of Red / Kunu’s Basket)

splash of red

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

1. Why do you think the author wants us to learn about Horace Pippin? What did you learn by reading this book?

2. Why does Horace Pippin keep painting even when it is difficult?

3. Why do you think he included a splash of red in each painting?

 

kunu's basket

Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee DeCora Francis. Illustrated by Susan Drucker. Tilbury House, 2012.

1. Making a basket is hard work. Why does Kunu persevere in making the basket?

2. How are baskets used in the story?

3. Kunu’s grandfather helps him with his basket. Who helps you when something is difficult?

 

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Tiger in My Soup / Stripes of All Types

February 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2014-2015 | February - (Comments Off on Tiger in My Soup / Stripes of All Types)

tiger in my soup

Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

1. What would you do if you found a tiger in your soup?

2. Look at the end pages, how many tigers and boys can you count?

3. What kind of soup do you like?

 

stripes of all types

Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.

1. Where do you see stripes? Where do you see spots? What colors do you see?

2. In the book, what places do the animals, insects, fish and birds live?

3. Find the activity page for further exploration.

 

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Boxers and Saints / Open Mic

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in 2014-2015 | High School | January - (Comments Off on Boxers and Saints / Open Mic)

boxers saintsHSBoxers (Boxers and Saints) by Gene Luen Yang. First Second, 2013.
Saints (Boxers and Saints) by Gene Luen Yang. First Second, 2013.

1. How do you think the order in which the books are read impacts a reader’s perspective on the rebellion?

2.  How is the influence of religious and spiritual beliefs in this pairing of books developed? How do Four Girl and Bao’s religious beliefs, as portrayed across the two books, parallel one another?

3. What elements of this book can you find in today’s headlines about similar religious or political conflict?

 

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Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices by Mitali Perkins. Candlewick Press, 2013.

1. How does the use of humor in these stories help to open discussions about race and ethnicity?

2. What are some similarities between the styles and perspectives of  the short stories? What are some differences?

3. Choose one of the stories. What is the author’s experience with racial and ethnic differences? How does the author convey this in his or her story? How does humor help the author explore and understand these differences?

 

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Pinned

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by etownsend in Middle School | 2014-2015 | January - (Comments Off on Pinned)

pinned Pinned by Sharon G. Flake. Scholastic Press, 2012.

1. How does the author use the text to differentiate between Adonis and Autumn? How are their voices different?

2. Autumn perseveres through her struggles with wrestling and during her pursuit of Adonis, but she gives up more easily when trying to read. Why doesn’t she apply herself to reading the way she does with wrestling and in her pursuit of Adonis?

3. Why is Adonis so resistant to Autumn’s advances?

Books for Middle School Age

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